Financial fraud in H1 2016 increased by a quarter to £399.5 million, enabled by scams and online attacks, new figures published by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) show.
Banks’ security systems continued to prevent the majority of fraud from taking place, with prevented fraud totalling £678.7 million, FFA UK said. This is equivalent to £6 in every £10 of attempted fraud being stopped.
Total financial fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques were £399.5 million in the first half of the year, a 25% increase on the same period in 2015, when total losses were £320.3 million.
Losses on payment cards – which includes remote purchase fraud, lost and stolen cards, card not received, counterfeit card and card ID theft – stood at £321.5 million, compared to £244.6 million in the first half of 2015, an increase of 31%. The prevented loss for cards stood at £475.7 million.
Remote purchase fraud increased by 31% to £224.1 million between January and June, compared to £171.7 million in the same period of 2015. Intelligence suggests fraudsters are using card details obtained with malware and data breaches, while there are more opportunities to commit such crimes because of the growing number of e-commerce sites.
There was a slight increase in remote banking losses, up from £66.2 million in the first half of 2015, to £70.6 million, with a prevented loss of £103.2 million. Scams continue to drive remote banking fraud, with criminals tricking victims into handing over their money or banking details.
A full set of data has been released by FFA UK, which leads for the industry on tackling financial fraud and which last month launched Take Five, a national awareness campaign to combat fraud.
“Banks use a range of robust security systems to protect their customers but as these systems become more sophisticated, criminals have increasingly been turning to scams and exploiting data breaches to con victims out of their personal and security information, as well as money,” explains Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK.
“Banks will continue to invest in advanced verification methods, including biometric validation and dynamic card security codes. We ask all consumers to be alert to scammers, which is why we recently launched the Take Five campaign.
“The industry takes its responsibility to combat fraud extremely seriously, but banks cannot stop all fraud on their own. It is essential all organisations with a role to play work together to better protect individuals and companies.”
FFA UK is urging customers to be vigilant of any unsolicited phone calls, text messages and emails and to be extremely cautious about giving out any personal and security information unless absolutely sure they know who they are dealing with.
Customers are reminded their bank or the police will never call them to ask for their online banking passwords or four-digit card PIN, or to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.
FFA UK is also urging all organisations that hold personal and financial data to improve their security systems in order to prevent data breaches. Retailers selling remotely can also use a number of tools to build up a profile of their customer, verify the cardholder and ensure they receive payment securely.
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of fraud should contact their bank and Action Fraud immediately.
Combatting fraud and protecting the public requires the involvement of many different parties which is why FFA UK is playing a leading role in the Joint Fraud Taskforce. The taskforce is using the collective powers, systems and resources of government, law enforcement and industry to crack down on financial fraud.
Tony Blake, senior fraud prevention officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, the FFA UK-sponsored police unit which investigates fraud, said:
“Fraudsters can be very convincing and often pose as representatives from a trusted organisation in order to appear genuine.
“If you are asked to transfer some money or provide your personal details and you think it could be a scam, take five minutes to think about what you are being asked to do. A genuine organisation will not mind if you check who you are speaking to, because people are not always who they say they are.”
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